Local MP questions government transparency

MP representing Ponoka questions federal fundraising fouls, cautiously optimistic on pipelines

As ethics go, the current federal Liberal government is treading on thin ice, says one member of parliament.

That’s according to Blaine Calkins, Red Deer-Lacombe Member of Parliament and Conservative official opposition ethics critic, who has taken the government to task recently over fundraisers where people paid to get access to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and various ministers.

Whether it was money paid directly to the federal Liberal party or to the Trudeau Foundation, Calkins is aghast about how the government looks to be ignoring its own rules.

“It all simply doesn’t pass the smell test,” Calkins stated in an interview last week.

“From a government that promised to be open and accountable, behind the scenes they made it a point whether it was at an event at a Toronto law firm or a fundraiser in Halifax that one could get preferential access through donations.”

Calkins added that the lobbying commission is currently conducting an investigation, but that is limited in scope to whether or not lobbyists flouted the rules, not necessarily the government. So, a motion was put forward last month in the House of Commons calling for the federal ethics commissioner’s office to get involved and perform its own investigation.

“Regrettably, the government voted against the motion and are continuing to use a loophole in the ethics legislation,” he said, adding that the situation is reminiscent of 2006 Liberal sponsorship scandal.

“Canadians need to be alarmed as this breaks the trust and confidence in the government, which is the whole reason we have rules in place. I will continue hold the government accountable as the media has also been doing.”

Pipelines a positive

On the other hand, Calkins is cautiously optimistic about the pair of pipeline approvals that Prime Minister Trudeau announced last week.

“In reality, there are no new pipelines as Line 3 is a replacement for the current one and the Trans Mountain is simply a twin, providing just more capacity,” he said.

He added there remain hurdles before construction even begins on the two projects and he will continue to have questions asked of the government.

And some of those questions will involve why one other proposal the Northern Gateway pipeline was rejected even though the National Energy Board (NEB) recommended it be approved.

“The Prime Minister stated the other projects were approved after consideration of the technical expertise of the NEB, but then he rejects that same technical expertise with it comes to Northern Gateway,” Calkins said.

“The sad part is that Northern Gateway has a deep water port and would allow better access for Alberta to market their oil, whereas the Trans Mountain line means smaller ships and not the same market access.”

He added the good news is that there is hope for people of being put to work, although the need is there for both Northern Gateway and the Energy East pipeline especially when there is no need for Canada to be reliant on overseas oil.

 

Just Posted

OPINION: Jason Kenney won by portraying himself as the Guardian of Alberta

How did Kenney do it? He never considered himself an opposition leader and didn’t pretend to be one.

Kenney talks pipelines with Trudeau after election win, calls it cordial

Almost a year ago Kenney dismissed Trudeau as a dilettante and a lightweight

Homeless activists outside Notre Dame demand ‘a roof too’

Wealthy people have donated millions to effort to rebuild cathedral after devastating fire

Singh says childhood abuse steeled him for scrutiny and stress of politics

He recounts the assaults for the first time in his book Love & Courage

Despite five extra weeks’ parental leave in Canada, dads still face stigma: survey

One reason people said dads don’t need leave is because they can just bond with their kids at weekend

Calgary’s public school board responds to Syrian child’s suicide after bullying

Amal Alshteiwi, a newcomer to Canada from Syria, took her own life several weeks ago

Child, 11, accidentally shot in the chest at Alberta religious colony

Child taken from Hutterite colony to nearby hospital

Woman in critical condition after motorcycle crash on Edmonton highway

Police say both women were thrown from the bike, and the van continued forward, hitting a Nissan Altima

Ceremonies, vigils planned in Toronto to honour victims of deadly van attack

Many of those who helped that day — first responders and Good Samaritans alike — still affected

New study suggests oilsands greenhouse gas emissions underestimated

New study is the first to use actual field measurements taken from aerial overflights, or top-down measurements

Shoppers Drug Mart launches second online medical pot portal in Alberta

As in Ontario, the Alberta platform touts ‘expert advice and counsel from trusted health-care professionals’

Most Read